Abu Dhabi: A new draft law to combat terrorism is one step closer to reality after it was approved by members of the Federal National Council on Monday.

The law will usher in new security measures to counter a sweeping range of crimes deemed as acts of terror.The government fast-tracked the draft law which establishes “terrorist” capital offences which result in the death of a victim including attacks on a head of state or his family or a representative or officer of a state; coerced recruitment of individuals into a “terrorist” organisation; hijacking; hostage-taking; infringement of diplomatic or consular premises in committing a “terrorist” act; use of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and assaulting security forces.

Convicted terrorists will face capital punishment, life imprisonment and fines of up to Dh100 million, according to a new legislation.

The draft law defines a terrorist offence as “any action or inaction made crime by this law and every action or inaction made crime by any other law if they are carried out for a terrorist cause”.

A terrorist intent is established by a direct or indirect terrorist result or when an offender knows that the action or inaction leads, in its nature or context, to terrorist results. Terrorist results include inciting fear among a group of people, killing them, or causing them serious physical injury, or inflicting substantial damage to property or the environment, or disrupting security of the international community, or opposing the country, or influencing the public authorities of the country or another country or international organisation while discharging its duties, or receiving a privilege from the country or another country or an international organisation, according to the draft law.

The UAE is a signatory to 13 international treaties on terrorism.

Ali Jasem, a veteran member of the House from Umm Al Quwain, said that a terrorism-related case shall neither expire nor the sentence imposed be dropped by prescription.

The draft law would also authorise the Cabinet to set up lists of designated terrorist organisations and persons.

The Cabinet would also establish counselling centres where convicted terrorists will receive intensive religious and welfare counselling in jails in a programme targeted against future threats posed by those holding extremist views, according to the draft law, a copy of which was obtained by Gulf News.

Every legal person whose representatives, managers or agents commit or contribute to the commission of any of the terrorist offences provided in the draft law, would receive a fine ranging between Dh1 million and Dh100 million.

A committee to be named The National Committee for Combating Terrorism is suggested to be established, and a decision towards its establishment would be made by the Cabinet.

The draft law states that an attempt on the life of the president of the state, the vice-president, members of the Supreme Council, crown princes, deputy rulers or members of their families will be punishable with the death sentence.

Life or provisional imprisonment will be imposed on those convicted of committing an attempt on the life of persons covered by international protection.

The penalty for compelling the president of the State, the vice-president, the prime minister, a minister, speaker and members of the FNC to take or refrain from an action will be life imprisonment.

Taking or refraining from carrying out an action that threatens the security of the country, its integrity or sovereignty will be a crime punishable by the death penalty or life imprisonment. The same penalty will be imposed on those convicted of committing or refraining from taking any such action with the intent to overthrow the government, suspend any article of the constitution, stop any public institution from discharging its responsibilities or harm national unity or social peace.

For equal criminal acts, offenders with terrorist intent will receive a much greater penalty than those without.

A person need only threaten, incite or plan any terrorist act to be prosecuted as a terrorist and punished with the same penalty for perpetrators of these acts, states the bill, fast-tracked by the government.

Signing up to a terrorist organisation will be punished with the death penalty, while an attempt to join any such organisation will cost the offender a life imprisonment, states the draft law.

Capital punishment or life imprisonment is the penalty for a person who commissions or runs a training centre for terrorist operations.

“Whoever seeks or communicates with a foreign state, terrorist organisation or with anyone who works for their interests, to commit any terrorist act, shall be punished with imprisonment for life while the death penalty will be imposed if the terrorist act has been carried out,” the bill suggests.

The bill makes it a crime punishable with up to 10 years’ jail for any person who does not provide authorities with information relating to any terrorist activity.